What’s Next?

Y’all. I’m nearly done with my first series of Badass Bitches From History. Ten bitches, coming right up!
Ada Lovelace completes the set. I’m also working to update the graphics for some of the older ones. Once that’s done, I plan to start offering postcards, stickers, perhaps mugs or other merch. What would you like? (Also if anyone knows of a good site that will print sets of postcards and ship them for me that’d be cool thanks.)

As far as moving forward in a sustainable way, I think I’ve decided each series will be ten historical figures (give or take). I’m less certain about how to present InfoPosts. Those may not come in complete series like my Bitches because I sense they need different organizational formats. However, I do plan to gather them all together to create some sort of Intro to Feminism source. Book? Website? All of the above? Who knows at this early stage!

I’ll work on a loose schedule for the BBFH and InfoPosts moving forward and get that posted soon. In the mean time, stay tuned for Ada Lovelace and Fat Phobia, they’ll be coming up within a couple of weeks!

What is Intersectionality?

When I say that I practice intersectional feminism, I am specifically aiming to let people know that I eschew the erasure inherent in traditional “white feminism.” I am aiming to communicate that I recognize that Black women have different struggles than I ever could and that my goal is for my work to be inclusive of their needs and history as well. Because it’s not equity if it’s not for everyone.

However, I want to also recognize that I am willing to be corrected by Black women, or members of other marginalized groups I am not a part of, if ever I misstep. You cannot claim to practice intersectional feminism if you are not open to being corrected. We are all learning and unlearning, myself included. And when we know better, we must do better.

So what is intersectionality? Let’s get into it.

Kimberlé Crenshaw is a professor of law at Columbia University and UCLA. She coined the term to “describe the double bind of simultaneous racial and gender prejudice,” particularly in regards to law (1).

At the time courts recognized either sex or gender discrimination, but not both. Crenshaw cites three court cases that highlight how the *intersection* of race and gender compound to make Black women’s experiences more challenging than either Black men or white women.

Crenshaw cites the lawsuit DeGraffenreid v General Motors. GM did not hire any Black women before 1964 so when they had seniority-based layoffs in 1970, all Black female employees were fired (2).

The women tried to sue but because GM had hired white women and Black men previous to 1964, the courts refused to see the sexism or the racism, saying “[P]laintiffs have failed’ to cite any decisions which have stated that Black women are a special class to be protected from discrimination.” (qtd in 2)

So Crenshaw coined “intersectionality” to describe how multiple marginalized identities can erase a person’s struggles and keep them from accessing justice.

The more marginalized identities a person has, the more likely they are to face oppressions. It is important to disaggregate data: remember that when people say women are more likely to be victims of violence, that likelihood rises for women of color or trans women. Not all experiences of womanhood are equal.

While it is true that one does not have to be Black to have multiple oppressed identities, feminism in the US and other culturally-related places has a long history of excluding Black activists. Because of that, it is vitally important to remember that “For many, intersectionality has always been, and should continue to be, synonymous with US Black feminist theory (3).”

So what does this mean for feminists, especially for allies? First, remember that while we may hold multiple marginalized identities, we must still recognize those we do not hold and make space for them. For instance, I may be a disabled woman living under the poverty line (and that is significant!), but I am not a Black woman and I need to make sure I am making space for Black women and not talking over them or pushing them out of the proverbial tent. Need specifics? Keep these goals in mind and aim to make them a habit in your daily life:

  • Follow BIPOC content creators and activists.
  • Center voices from marginalized groups rather than speaking over them.
  • Call out/in the people in your own groups of privilege when necessary.
  • Be willing to be called out/in. Do self-reflection on a regular basis. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Do not correct or tone police folx with marginalized identities as they speak or advocate for themselves and their community.

  • Feminism is in direct opposition to patriarchy. The patriarchy holds power with white supremacy and capitalism, therefore feminism must oppose those as well. Because for too long feminism has aligned itself with white supremacy and capitalism, we must actively and aggressively embrace intersectional feminism. Because we are not free until all of us are free. Patriarchy is bad for everyone, even the men who hold the power. The same is true for its bedfellows.

    Therefore, it’s not feminism unless it’s intersectional because we cannot truly and actually oppose the patriarchy while we are still aligned with it’s allies. Intersectional feminism because some women are Black, or indigenous, or trans, or disabled, or houseless, or incarcerated, or otherwise oppressed. Intersectional feminism because it’s the right thing to do.

    1. “Kimberlé W. Crenshaw.” Columbia Law School, 1 Feb. 2019, https://www.law.columbia.edu/faculty/kimberle-w-crenshaw
    2. Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8. http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8
    3. Davis K. Who owns intersectionality? Some reflections on feminist debates on how theories travel. European Journal of Women’s Studies. 2020;27(2):113-127. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1350506819892659

    Facts About Sex & Gender

    A couple of months ago on our Facebook page, we had an invasion of TERFs. TERF, if you don’t know is an acronym that stands for “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist,” or someone who defines themselves as a feminist, yet fights against trans rights. It has been proposed that perhaps FART, or Feminism-Appropriating Radical Transphobe, might be a more apt name and I cannot argue. It’s not feminism if it’s not intersectional. *shrug*

    Over the course of the invasion I realized that a lot of folx simply do not have the most up-to-date information about sex and gender. For instance, modern science now fully recognizes that the human spectrum of sexes is not a simple binary of male and female, and that those folx whose physical traits do not align with either male or female are not “broken” or in need of fixing, but that, simply, there are many ways to be human and “male” and “female” are merely two of them. So I knew my next infopost needed to address these topics. Sit back and get ready to learn some really cool shit. Humanity is far more diverse than our society has ever given it credit for, and frankly, I think that’s beautiful as fuck.


    Aren’t sex & gender the same thing?


    What is sex? In this context, “sex” refers to the physical characteristics of a person’s body. I.e. the parts that are used to assign genders at birth or genetic information.

    What is gender? “Gender,” on the other hand, is a set of socially constructed behaviors and/or characteristics that typically go with a person’s sex, although they do not always align.

    Sex and gender do interact with each other, but they are not the same thing.

    When we define terms, PLEASE REMEMBER that definitions can help us to communicate more clearly but that people are more important than dictionary definitions and that as languages evolve, so does our understanding of words and their definitions! So these definitions may be new to you, but that’s okay!

    Isn’t transgender a new concept?

    Western culture, on the whole, has not historically had a unifying definition of gender outside of male/female. Within American culture and the cultures that formed American culture (stemming from Christianity, really), transgender is a relatively new concept to us. That doesn’t mean that trans folx never existed! In fact we have records of many people “living as” the opposite gender to the one they were assigned at birth. But these instances were rarely public knowledge, likely due to the punishments trans folx would receive at the time (2).

    However, other cultures have long acknowledged three or more genders. The UN Free & Equal, an initiative of the UN Humans Rights Office, has an excellent map that shows some of the cultures which have historically acknowledged sexes, genders, and sexual orientations outside the binary (3). (Please note this link is fussy- it always gives me an error the first time. Usually works the second time.) Among them are listed indigenous cultures from the Americas, Russia, Indonesia, Asia, as well as European and Mediterranean cultures dating back to the Enlightenment and ancient times. Worldwide, queer folx have always existed and have been culturally acknowledged.

    How many human sexes are there, really?

    Intersex is the appropriate term today for folx whose bodies do not physically align with either male or female. Older terms you may have heard are no longer considered polite and h*rmaphrodite is considered a slur. Amnesty International has a good, short article debunking five common myths about intersex folx (4). Click the link for more information, but I’ll highlight a few here:

    Being intersex is rare. As we learn more about genetics and hormones, we discover people who may not have otherwise been aware that they are intersex. In recent years a 70 year old man and father of four had surgery to repair a hernia during which it was discovered that he had a uterus (5). Some intersex conditions are only known through chromosomal or genetic workups (5). And some medical professionals and folx with PCOS consider this to be an intersex condition, although there is not yet a firm consensus (6). All told it is estimated that there are about as many intersex folx on the planet as there are redheads (4). (I do not believe PCOS is counted in those numbers. For more info on how PCOS can be considered intersex, check out Hans Lindahl’s video on Youtube.)

    Being intersex is a condition that needs to be corrected. Our culture has been so obsessed with the gender binary that we have performed painful and irreversible surgeries on children and infants, often without their consent (4). “Although doctors and parents may be well meaning, the reality is that the procedures performed on intersex children can cause major problems, including infertility, pain, incontinence and lifelong psychological suffering (4).”

    Intersex folx are transgender. I mean some of them may be, but ultimately the two conditions are fundamentally different conditions. “An intersex person may be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and may identify as female, male, both or neither (4).” Just like being born cis male or cis female, “intersex” refers only to the physical self, while “transgender” refers to the person’s internal identity of who they are.


    NEVER ask someone about their genitals. That is personal information and it is NONE of your business!

    People are more than their genitals, and your job as an ally is to simply trust that a person knows who they are and to use the language they ask you to use.

    What do trans rights mean for feminism?

    It is important to note that transgender folx – and intersex folx – being accepted and embraced by the feminist and queer movements is not in any way harmful to those movements. This is one argument I hear from TERFs all the time; they accuse me of somehow harming women by being inclusive of trans folx. I honestly cannot comprehend such a thought. When your feminism is intersectional, it already includes marginalized folx. The patriarchy is bad for everyone, even white men. All “patriarchy” means is that men hold the power, not that they spiritually and wholly benefit from it. That can be another post for another day; today I want to talk about the history of feminism.

    As a scholar of women’s history I have learned that the suffragist movement systematically kept Black suffragists out. I have learned that second wave feminism, while being somewhat more racially inclusive, excluded the queer community, calling lesbians “The Lavender Menace” (for real tho is there a gay riot grrl band named The Lavender Menace yet because there should be).

    TERFs are nothing more than the next wave of exclusionary feminists. They are entirely unoriginal and utterly boring. To truly be worthy of the term “radical” one would have to be doing something new and unprecedented. Alas.

    If one is not making sure their feminism is intersectional, they aren’t really doing the work of Feminism. Rather, they are doing the work of the patriarchy, of white supremacy, of capitalism, of oppressors.

    This umbrella is big enough for all of us. Make room or get out.

    Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.

    All of this is not knowledge I was given as I was growing up. Much of the genetic knowledge of sex is more recent than my high school biology education from the dark ages in the 90s. It’s okay to have not known this stuff before now. But as we know better, we do better. Make sure to make room for your trans and intersex friends and don’t gatekeep them because you simply didn’t have the right info.


    1. “Gender and Health.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/health-topics/gender.

    2. “History of Transgender People in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Dec. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_transgender_people_in_the_United_States.

    3. “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Throughout History.” UN Free & Equal, UNFE.org. https://www.unfe.org/system/unfe-74-SEXUAL_ORIENTATION_AND_GENDER_IDENTITY_ARE_NOTHING_NEW_PDF.pdf.

    4. “Its Intersex Awareness Day – Here Are 5 Myths We Need to Shatter.” Amnesty International, Amnesty International, 11 Oct. 2021, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/10/its-intersex-awareness-day-here-are-5-myths-we-need-to-shatter/

    5. Ainsworth, Claire. “Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 22 Oct. 2018, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sex-redefined-the-idea-of-2-sexes-is-overly-simplistic1/

    6. Lindahl, Hans. “Is PCOS Intersex?” Hi, Hello, Hans, YouTube, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-jN13Cw7XU. Accessed 5 Jan. 2022.

    Hymen Facts – Is Virginity Even REAL?

    Image text: Hymen Facts Image shows six sketches of hymens. First, a ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. Second a very thin ring of tissue. Third shows a vaginal opening nearly covered except for a sort of slit in the middle. Fourth shows two openings in the tissue. Fifth shows a medium-sized ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. Last shows a hymen with several small holes in it.

    Spoiler alert: nope! It’s a construct we made up! Read on for more info on hymens.

    Image shows a sketch of a vulva with text labeling the anatomy: clitoris, urethra, vaginal opening, and hymen, also called vaginal corona.

    Hymens don’t necessarily break when something is inserted into the vagina (1).
    And they can break without any vaginal insertion: through injury, or masturbation, etc (1).
    Hymens change in size, shape, and flexibility across a person’s lifespan (1).
    The hymen will often tear during the first vaginal birth (2).
    Hymens have very few blood vessels and may not even bleed when torn (1).
    There is no universal definition of the term “virginity” – its meaning varies by era, culture, and religion (3).
    Clinicians are not trained or educated on the complexities of the hymen (1).
    The term “intact hymen” has no anatomical correlate and should not be used (3).

    If you want this information in the social media formats or in a printable flyer you can use for your clients or students click here.


    1) Mishori, R. “The Little Tissue That Couldn’t
    2) Frye, Anne “Healing Passage
    3) WHO “Eliminating Virginity Testing
    4) drawings by Nina Reimer